Pelosi Taiwan Visit – Live: GOP Offers Rare Praise to Speaker as China Strikes Out


As Nancy Pelosi Begins Asia Tour, China Warns Against Visiting Taiwan

Tensions are high in the region as the plane carrying US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi landed in Taiwan on Tuesday, while Chinese warplanes flew close to the centerline of the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Ms Pelosi received rare praise from GOP lawmakers for her visit despite Chinese warnings.

Chinese warships and planes “squeeze” along the median line Tuesday morning, while the State Department condemned the trip as “playing with fire” and confirmed they will conduct live fire drills off the coast of Taiwan.

Ms. Pelosi arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday morning for the second leg of her Asia tour, and the US military plane carrying the Speaker of the House and Congressional delegation left that country and landed in Taipei at Taiwan Songshan Airport just before 11 p.m. local time.

In the meantime, The Washington Post published an op-ed by Ms Pelosi, in which the speaker described the visit as “an unequivocal statement that America stands behind Taiwan, our democratic partner, while defending itself and its freedom”.

Ms. Pelosi left the US on Sunday and began her visit in Singapore. Her office has said she will also travel to South Korea and Japan.

The visit to Taiwan is the highest visit by an American politician since then-house speaker Newt Gingrich went there in 1997.

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Nancy Pelosi’s Another Great Journey That Made China Angry

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has long been a critic of China’s track record on human rights and political freedoms.

In 1991, she memorablely unfurled a pro-democracy flag in Tiananmen Square shortly after the student massacre.

Here’s some of our previous coverage of the California Representative’s stance on China.

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Unverified Videos Show Chinese Soldiers Moving Tanks To Coastal Province

China put on a show of military violence during House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, including live fire drills off the coast of the island.

According to unverified videos circulating on Chinese social media, the Chinese military has also moved dozens of tanks to the coastal Fujian province.

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China suspends import of Taiwanese sweets during Pelosi visit

China has stepped up pressure on Taiwan and by proxy on the US as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visits the disputed island nation.

In addition to brash displays of military hardware, China also temporarily suspended imports from some Taiwanese food factories during the overseas visit.

The policy will affect companies that make sweets, cookies and pastries, the South China Morning Post reports.

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Why did Pelosi go to Taiwan? To ‘stick with China’

Nancy Pelosi has explained herself enough when it comes to why she visits Taiwan.

In an opinion piece published Tuesday in The Washington Post, she said the “visit should be seen as an unequivocal statement that America stands behind Taiwan, our democratic partner, while defending itself and its freedom”.

Those close to the House Speaker say there is another target as well.

“She wants to stick with China,” an anonymous source familiar with her thinking told Puck.

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What is the One China Policy?

When Donald Trump received a call from Taiwanese Tsai Ing-Wen, he became the first president or president-elect in 40 years to speak with the island’s leader.

The appeal plunged the superpowers into a diplomatic incident over an important foundation of US-China relations: US support for the ‘One China’ policy.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the first of three “joint communiqués” outlining the official US position on Taiwan. It read: “Taiwan is part of China. The United States does not dispute that position.”

Here’s what else you need to know about the policies underlying US-China-Taiwan relations.

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Republican senator: Speaker Pelosi was right

Senate Republicans have offered their unexpected support for Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, and even they are surprised it turned out that way.

“I’m about to use four words in a row that I haven’t used in this way before and those four words are ‘Speaker Pelosi was right’ when she decided to include Taiwan in her visit to Asia,” Senator Roy Blunt said. Missouri said at a news conference Tuesday.

Check out his full comments below.

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Senator Says US Forgets Taiwan Even As Pelosi Visit Begins

US Senator Marsha Blackburn says the US is trying to make the world “forget the freedom of Taiwan”.

“The world has overlooked Wuhan’s role in the COVID pandemic,” she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “The world has overlooked Beijing’s human rights record during the genocide games. Now Biden is pressuring the world to forget Taiwan’s freedom.”

It’s unclear what exactly her comments on the part of the president were referring to, but Biden has largely adhered to previous administrations’ policies toward Taiwan. In some cases, he has gone beyond the “strategic ambiguity” of the White Houses of the past, which have assured Taiwan that it will have the means to defend itself if China tries to unilaterally change its status.

In May, the president made one of the strongest pro-Taiwan statements in decades, telling reporters that the US would defend the island nation militarily if China invaded.

“That’s the commitment we made,” he said.

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Taiwan prepares for possible Chinese attacks with shelter exercises

Even before a visit from Nancy Pelosi ignited tensions between China and Taiwan, the embattled island nation was preparing for a possible Chinese attack.

Last month, Taiwan held its first comprehensive airstrike drill since the start of the Covid pandemic.

The capital, Taipei, has 4,600 air raid shelters that can house a total of 12 million people.

(AFP via Getty Images)

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What the opinion pages say about Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan

A visit by a top American politician to Taiwan would never fail without eliciting some strong opinions.

The opinion pages of many major news channels don’t seem to support House Speaker Pelosi’s surprise trip to the embattled island nation. Many editorial writers seem to view the decision as a dangerous gamble, or a sign of a broader, dangerous deterioration in US-China relations.

In The New York TimesThomas Friedman called the trip “completely reckless.”

He is writing:

Nothing good will come of it. Taiwan will not be safer or more prosperous as a result of this purely symbolic visit, and many bad things can happen. These include a Chinese military response that could lead to the US being plunged into indirect conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia and a nuclear-armed China at the same time.

In The Wall Street JournalMeanwhile, the editorial argued that tensions surrounding the trip demonstrate the urgency of easing growing tensions between the US and China.

For 50 years, the mutual understanding has been that China will wait for peaceful reunification while the US recognizes one China and is ambiguous about defending Taiwan. That doesn’t hold anymore. Xi wants to unite China during his presidential watch, and Beijing’s rhetoric and military stance are becoming increasingly combative.

In Al Jazeera, Asia specialist Richard Javad Heydarian, for his part, had a similar view, suggesting the trip “will likely mark the opening salvo in a long and increasingly dangerous battle for Taiwan’s future.”

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Looking back on another high profile Pelosi visit

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan isn’t her only high-profile overseas trip this year.

In May, she traveled with a congressional delegation to visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, amid the ongoing invasion by Russia.

“We are here to say to you, we are with you until this fight is over,” she said in a video about the trip. “We are here until victory is achieved”.

Check out our full report on the trip, from Gino Spocchia.

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